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[275] A sort of truce was permitted; the British men-of-
Chap. LVIII.} 1776. Jan.
war were not fired upon; and in return the commerceof the port was not harassed, so that vessels laden with provisions, to purchase powder in St. Eustatia, went and came without question. A small party in the city, insignificant in numbers and in weight of character, clamored at this forbearance; and with rash indiscretion would have risked ultimate success for the gratification of momentary passion. Of these the most active was Isaac Sears, who, as a son of liberty, had merited high praise for his fearlessness. Vexed at his want of influence, impatient at being overlooked, and naturally inclined to precipitate counsels, he left the city for Connecticut, and returned with a party of mounted volunteers from that colony, who rode into the city and rifled the printing house of the tory Rivington. The committee of New York and its convention censured the riot, as an unwise infringement of the liberty of the press, and a dangerous example to their enemies; but as the unsolicited intermeddling of New England men in New York affairs, without concert with the New York committee and even without warning, it was resented by the Dutch, and universally by all moderate men. Jay and his colleagues were anxious, lest this high insult to the authority of the New York committee should confirm that jealous distrust of the eastern colonies, which the wise and the virtuous studied to suppress.

Disowned and censured by every branch of the popular representation of New York, vexed at not receiving a high appointment in the American navy, Sears repaired to the camp in Cambridge, and there found a hearer in Lee, to whom he represented that

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